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Effect of pH and washing on calcium and magnesium distribution between pulp and filtrate

Eva Gemzická, Jozef Šima, Milan Vrška, and Martin Holeš

Department of Chemical Technology of Wood, Pulp and Paper, Slovak University of Technology, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovakia



Abstract: The impact of pH and washing procedure on calcium and magnesium distribution between pulp and filtrate in pulp processing was investigated. Depending on media pH, the elements are present in the form of ions (Ca2+, Mg2+) and hydrated oxides (Ca(OH)2, Mg(OH)2). Distribution was monitored using binary systems of CaCl2 and MgCl2 dissolved in deionized water or Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions present in filtrates from an industrial pulp mill. Complying with the relevant standards in force, Ca and Mg contents are expressed as CaO and MgO. The study was aimed at obtaining mathematic relations between pH and calcium and magnesium, as two important non-process elements, sorption on pulp. Distribution of the elements between pulp and liquid (filtrate or water) was determined with analytical procedures and simulation of pulp washing. It was found that both pH and filtrate composition influenced sorption/desorption of the elements on/from pulp. Filtrate from a pulp mill, mainly content of organic substances in liquid phase, affects their sorption on pulp and desorption to liquid. The higher the pH value the more efficient the sorption of the elements, magnesium being sorbed on pulp in higher amounts than calcium. Prevalence of the sorbed magnesium is preserved even at lower concentrations of both elements. Distribution of the elements between pulp and solution is expressed through mathematic relations which, in turn, can be employed to purposefully modify or optimize the distribution between the solid (pulp) and liquid (filtrate) media. Moreover, rationalized exploitation of mathematical relations enables balancing the elements within a cellulose manufacture, regulating media recycling, and predicting an eventual impact on technological processes.

Keywords: calcium sorption - magnesium sorption - mathematical relationship - washing process - pH impact - conditional distribution coefficient

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-010-0061-3


Chemical Papers 64 (6) 741–748 (2010)

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

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